Actually it’s not. Not yet anyway. But it is time to start talking about planning Christmas in Clunes. We don't have a snow globe to tell us what restrictions might be in place in December, but maybe we don't need to know. Instead, all we need to do is plan a festival with enough plan b's and c's to nail it. Want to be a part of it?
Photo supplied by Ann Jeffree.
How is Christmas in Clunes 2021 shaping up?
Clunes is a robust community with a long history of knowing how to put on a good party (oops, I mean festival). This town has tackled events that go for whole weekends or even a month. We’ve triumphed in ways that celebrate the land, our history and culture. Our events have raised our town’s profile, brought visitors, and strengthened our economy. This year, Christmas in Clunes won’t be any of those things. Well, at least not intentionally. This year, this festival will be about us.
What are our priorities?
Community. Clunes is a township with a staggering number of community groups. Historically Clunes has achieved great things (often without a lot of funding or resources) because these groups have banded together. The Christmas in Clunes Street Parade was a great example of this. While we won’t have a street parade this year, there is an opportunity for every aspect of the festival to involve as many of the groups and individuals that make this town so special.
Adaptability. It’s hard to be adaptable when it’s a constant state. But planning alternative options doesn’t always have to be a pain in the (you know). It can build resilience, like a muscle you use often so each race doesn’t seem like such a hard slog. It can also add value to what your doing if the worst doesn’t happen, and your plan A gets to rock!
How will this translate on the ground?
Lots of shared planning (like this) and making the most of what we’ve got. So here’s what we think we can do.
We have enough decorations (without needing to spend lots more money) to spruce and hang up in the main street. These simple decorations set the stage, but for several evenings in November, require small teams (willing to climb a scaffold and do some OHS training) to put them up. We have a team of regular volunteers who know the routine. We just need a few extras.
We have a lights competition. Perfect for those in our community who can create a wonderland in their shop, property, front gate or mailbox. We need a team to plan prizes and promotions. We also have a costume container at Clunes Neighbourhood House (complete with resident designer) to help craft the perfect Christmas costume to wear at the local street feast on the first Friday of December. We’ll need more prizes for that, people keen to dress up, and a plan B spectacle (film or photo exhibition?) if restrictions mean we can’t hold the Friday event.
There is no doubt that people are doing it hard. Last year, in collaboration with Hepburn Shire Council and the Clunes Football and Netball Club we delivered more than 50 hampers gifted by locals to others living in Clunes. This year we’ll continue this, but we may also have another role to play too. Read further to find out what I mean.
As dusk falls on Fraser street and the lights twinkle on, we need a team to plan a street feast with entertainment. We could pre-order from local businesses (important to support!) or if they are tired after another bloody hard year, come up with some other plan that works for all. This team have the trickiest job. They’ll be planning a feast that might have to switch into something else entirely if restrictions don’t allow it.
Some amazing suggestions have already come through.
Pre-ordered meals, could switch to delivery – and this is where the hampers team would kick in.
Entertainment could also be pre-filmed and showcased after dark in shop windows during December. Christmas carols could be sung (with the help of a QR code).
The whole event could be by registration only (probably needs to be anyway), so we can contact people if changes need to happen.
Who knows what else? Best of all. If the Street Feast does get to go ahead, each of these pivots could still be used to great effect. [Yep. First time I’ve actually used that word without rolling my eyes!]
…want to be involved?
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 5345 4078. Our first meeting will be this Thursday, 2nd September 2021 via Zoom. If you can’t attend or don’t often use Zoom, just let Deb know and we'll find a way to... (it's all good, my internet crashed before I could type the word pivot!).
AUTHOR: Lana de Kort.